brunch/loaves/mini/small batch

Small Batch Sundays: French Yogurt Lemon Loaf Cake

Posted January 27, 2019 by Stephanie

Hello! Are you looking for a perfect sized small batch loaf cake to bake for the week ahead? Maybe you want to have cake for breakfast everyday but don’t want a giant calorie bomb slice? This small batch French yogurt lemon loaf cake is for you!

I’m on a roll with the small loaf cakes – if you call two loafs a roll, anyway. I’m officially obsessed. I love having cake around for breakfast and since it’s smaller than your typical loaf slice, I don’t even feel bad about it. This yogurt cake (found via Bon Appetit) is nice and sturdy, easy to make, and unlike all of my other small batched recipes that use divided eggs, uses one whole egg.

Apparently yogurt cake is a thing that all French people know how to make, according to the internet anyway. Unfortunately, I don’t have any French friends who can confirm or deny this for me. It all sounds very romantic anyway: you buy a small glass jar of yogurt from your charming neighborhood corner store and use the glass container to measure out the flour and sugar, mix everything together and bake it. It’s like the French version of Betty Crocker and it’s one of the first cakes that people learn how to make.

It is absurdly easy to make and there’s even a nice tactile meditative portion where you rub lemon zest into sugar to make it all lemon-y and fragrant. From there, it’s just a question of mixing the sugar with yogurt, an egg, and oil. Then it’s dry ingredients into wet and a agonizingly long-ish bake while your house fills up with the most amazing baking cake smell.

Happy small batching friends! Please let me know in the comments if there’s anything in particular that you want to small batch. It doesn’t have to be baked goods, either. It can be solo meals or small meals for two!

PS – I made this particular loaf before we went on a little snowboarding trip, and I snuck a slice into my snowboarding jacket pocket, and it survived very nicely. I had it as a snack on the slopes :)

French Yogurt Lemon Loaf Cake |

French Yogurt Lemon Loaf Cake |

French Yogurt Lemon Loaf Cake |

French Yogurt Lemon Loaf Cake |

French Yogurt Lemon Loaf Cake |

Small Batch French Yogurt Lemon Loaf Cake
makes 1 small loaf

  • 3/4 cups (90 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 6 tablespoons whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

via Bon Appetit

Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil and flour pan a mini loaf pan (6×3 inches or a pan that fits 2 cups liquid) or line with parchment paper.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl, use your finger to rub the lemon zest into the sugar until it is fragrant and moist. Whisk the lemon zest sugar together with the yogurt, oil, egg, and vanilla.

Fold the dry ingredients in, just to blend.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes, remove from the pan and let cool completely on the wire rack. Enjoy!


  1. Agnes says:

    You’re right : le gâteau au yaourt (yogourt cake) is the first thing kids learn to cook in France ! You can add vanilla, melted chocolate or apples instead of lemon.
    Glad you like it !
    Agnes, a long time french reader for Paris !

    1. Stephanie says:

      aww thanks for being a longtime reader agnes! and thank you for letting me know that some stuff on the internet is true! how cute that it’s one of the first things kids learn how to cook in france. i’m excited to try the melted chocolate version!

  2. i love your mini loaf pan!!! where is it from?

    1. Stephanie says:

      it’s from tokyo! mini pullman pan :)

  3. Sophie says:

    I loved this! Perfect thing to whip up last minute on a lazy sunday afternoon! Thank you for your efforts scaling these recipes down, keep them coming!

    1. Stephanie says:

      ooh you had a chance to make it! awesome!! i’m totally going to continue with small batch sundays :)

  4. Winnie says:

    Could you post a recipe for small batch earl grey yogurt cake?

    1. Stephanie says:

      ooh yes, excellent idea!!! :)

  5. sarah says:

    can i double for family size loaf?

    1. Stephanie says:

      yes, absolutely!

  6. T Speed says:

    Thought on using coconut yogurt in place of Greek yogurt? How might that go…?

    1. Stephanie says:

      absolutely, it’ll work and give it a very slight coconutty flavor!

  7. jane says:

    Absolutely delicious. Trader Joe’s only had whole milk Greek yogurt with vanilla bean so I omitted the vanilla extract. Being happily single I appreciate the small batch recipes.

    1. Stephanie says:

      yay! excellent idea on the vanilla yogurt :)

  8. kit says:

    Delightfully easy! I didn’t have a mini loaf pan, so I divided it between 4 standard muffin cups. They baked through in about 30 minutes.

    1. Stephanie says:

      ooh four muffins :) perfect! thanks for letting me know that they work in tins and the timing!

  9. zoe says:

    can I add in a bit of lemon juice to give it a more lemony flavour?

    1. Stephanie says:


  10. Jo says:

    What if I have less yoghurt. Would it still work?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi jo,
      i haven’t tried it with less yogurt. how much less do you have? you could try to make up the difference with milk or water but i think the cake would come out flatter and not as lush.

  11. Zoey says:

    Hello, may I half the sugar amount and substitute with honey instead?

    1. Zoey says:

      and if so, how much honey would you suggest?

      1. Stephanie says:

        hi, i haven’t tried subbing it with honey but it should work. if you want to halve it, that would be okay, just know that the texture will definitely be different, more heavy and dense.

  12. Ingrid says:

    I made this today (Sunday) intrigued about the minuscule proportions. It is cooling in the rack now. It made the house smell heavenly!

  13. Dede says:

    Is the batter supposed to be lumpy after adding the dry ingredients? Recipe says to fold in just to blend.

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi dede
      just try not to over mix, a couple of small lumps are fine but it should be mostly smooth :)

  14. Jane says:

    Made in muffin tin, and studded the tops with blueberries. Worked perfectly, very delicious.

  15. LMarie says:

    Do you think swapping out the ap flour with almond flour, and the sugar with xylitol, will work? Trying to make a keto version. I’ve read almond flour needs more binding, however, If I add another egg, I’m afraid it may be to ‘eggy’ tasting. Thoughts?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hmm, i haven’t tried, but try this recipe, it’s made with almond flour:
      you can swap out the sugar for sweetener, just make sure to adjust according to the baking properties of whichever sweetener you use :)

  16. Nicholas says:

    Suggestions for a glaze?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi nicholas,
      try mixing together 1/2 cup icing sugar with 1-2 tbsp whole milk and 1/4 tsp lemon juice :)

  17. MR Downing says:

    5 stars
    this was delicious and just perfect. used KA GF all purpose flour. delighted to find yr blog + so many small batch recipes. will be making more!

    p.s. would love to see a small batch coconut cake ahead of easter!

    1. Stephanie says:

      i have one!
      i LOVE this one during the easter season, so full of coconut :)

  18. Nerissa says:

    5 stars
    This was perfect to make if you want something quick and delicious ? . Just the right amount of lemon for me but others may want a little more. I used regular yogurt cause I didn’t have Greek. I’ll try it with Greek next time to see what difference it makes. I baked in my mini loaf pan so it was done in less than 30 mins. Mine didn’t brown on top like the photo. How do you get it to brown like that?

    1. Stephanie says:

      it could be that my oven runs a little hotter or maybe i left it in to bake a bit longer than you did :) thanks for the notes, especially on using regular yogurt!

  19. Bianca says:

    3/4 cups of flour shall be 180g instead of 90g?

    Love your recipes!

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi bianca,
      all purposeflour weighs 120 grams for 1 cup, so 3/4 cups ends up being 90 grams :)

      1. Bianca says:

        Hm it’s so weird, I have my measuring cup showing me 1/4 cup is 60ml, and 1g is converted to 1ml. In any case, using your cup measurements works for me! I used the gram before and it didn’t work.

  20. Debra says:

    5 stars
    This was absolutely delightful and delicious! I used lemon yogurt and Fiori di sicilia extract. Sprinkled the top with sparkling sugar, so pretty.

  21. Fran says:

    5 stars
    I make this loaf all the time now, I love lemon, it is so easy and makes a lovely Breakfast!

  22. Lianna says:

    Delicious! I think I used the wrong kind of kosher salt as mine came out a bit salty, but overall amazing little loaf!

  23. Maria says:

    Wasn’t sure if it would be too much batter for my small loaf pan, so I used a 6 inch round and it was perfect. Loved the lemon flavor and love that it’s small batch. Thank you.

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